We are full steam ahead on the 80’s track. ‘Choo-Choo’! Don’t Stop Believin’ was released by another LA Band ‘Journey‘ at the dawn of the decade in the October 1981. It starts with a catchy keyboard riff by then new band-member Jonathan Cain who collaborated in the writing of this song reflecting on the encouragement his father gave him as a struggling musician living on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard. Steve Perry’s vocals are excellent here.
You don’t get much more quintessential 80’s than what this song produced. I imagine it was a trendsetter for many other bands, since I’ve heard so many songs which resemble Don’t Stop Believin’ especially in movie soundtracks like The Karate Kid or Rocky IV etc. A Christian singer Kenny Marks whose music – a school-friend put me onto also captured this kind of sound in his 80’s releases.
Just a small-town girl, livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
A singer in a smoky room
The smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile, they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on
The song is unusual in that its chorus does not arrive until the song is nearly finished. The verses are what appeal to me here. The Pre-chorus’ don’t ‘wow’ me at all. The band recorded the song in one take. It was a top -10 worldwide hit and became the group’s signature song. Decades after its release, it became the best-selling digital track from the twentieth century, with over seven million downloads. Rolling Stone ranked it among its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
1. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey